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Beachum rules out move to guard, with Steelers or anyone else

| Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, 10:48 a.m.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum plays against the Packers on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2015, at Heinz Field.

SAN FRANCISCO — Kelvin Beachum can play every position across the offensive line and pretty much has done so in his four years with the Steelers.

Being able is one thing. Being willing is another.

Beachum on Tuesday told the Tribune-Review he is not open to a switch to guard — whether the Steelers ask him or any other team that might be interested in signing him when free agency starts March 15.

If anybody does ask him to move to guard, Beachum has a response ready.

“I am not going to say anything,” Beachum said. “I am just going to look at them like they are crazy. I have played left tackle my entire career, and I was thrust into all kinds of positions when I got here and I was a team player from that perspective, but I made my mark as a left tackle.”

Beachum spent Tuesday on Radio Row at the Super Bowl 50 Media Center promoting his partnership with Chevron's STEM Zone — a program that brings life concepts of science, technology, engineering and math through the game of football.

It is an important offseason for Beachum.

The Steelers' fourth seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft out of SMU worked himself from being a bubble player as a rookie into a starting left tackle within a year.

Beachum started the final 34 games at left tackle until suffering an ACL injury Oct. 18 against the Arizona Cardinals, thus complicating his offseason. It was the first major injury of Beachum's career.

“You have been playing football your entire life and you never missed a game and then all of a sudden you get hurt,” Beachum said. “Why now, why me? But you can't think about that.”

Beachum and the Steelers couldn't work out a long-term extension before the start of the season mostly because both sides had different values of Beachum's worth. At 6-foot-3 and a little more than 300 pounds, Beachum was the smallest left tackle in the NFL but also very productive.

“It just didn't work out,” he said.

Beachum is counting on his body of work landing him a job even if it isn't with the Steelers. And with Alejandro Villanueva showing he could play left tackle and being a cheaper option, Beachum likely will be somewhere else next year.

“It would be (tough to say goodbye to Pittsburgh), but the NFL has a lot of turnover,” Beachum said. “I have never been through free agency before where I get to choose the team I get to go to. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are happy. This year, I made $1.5 (million), and I was happy. I might get $10.5 (million) next year and be happy. It doesn't matter.”

Beachum's versatility, along with left guard Ramon Foster also being a free agent, made a possible move to guard to stay with the Steelers a talking point. However, Beachum was unwavering of his want to play left tackle.

“It is one of those things that I want to play left tackle. It is a position that I love,” Beachum said.

Beachum's health won't be an issue, he said.

He is 10 weeks removed from surgery and already has started to work out in a pool work and on an elliptical. He said he will learn more about his rehab toward the end of April, although a nine-month recovery period is typical for offensive linemen who have ACL repairs.

“I know I will be ready for the start of the season,” Beachum said. “That's not a question. I am making sure that I am ready regardless of who makes the call. I have to look at all options and all situations. I am not a person to make rash decisions.”

Note: The Steelers signed wide receiver Levi Norwood to a reserve/future contract. Norwood, an undrafted free agent from Baylor, was released by the Chicago Bears on Aug. 30. Norwood earned All-Big 12 honorable mention while at Baylor as a return specialist in both the 2013 and '14 seasons. The Steelers' kickoff return game was below par as both Dri Archer and Jacoby Jones struggled and were eventually released.

Mark Kaboly is a Tribune-Review staff writer. He can be reached at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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